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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 843 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1087 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.33 | 582 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.46 | 68 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.28 | 476 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.31 | 233 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.31 | 215 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 810 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.25 | 550 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.34 | 122 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.25 | 530 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.24 | 679 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.24 | 592 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.24 | 461 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.27 | 213 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.30 | 131 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.29 | 132 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.31 | 108 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 263 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.26 | 168 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.23 | 268 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.24 | 203 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.27 | 123 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.21 | 319 ratings
VALENTYNE SUITE
Colosseum
4.43 | 46 ratings
FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS
Kenso
4.24 | 164 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.35 | 64 ratings
L'AXE DU FOU
Forgas Band Phenomena
4.30 | 84 ratings
BIG FUN
Davis, Miles
4.26 | 113 ratings
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Davis, Miles
4.68 | 22 ratings
REALIZATION
Henderson, Eddie
4.23 | 136 ratings
HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU (AKA B THE MAGPIE)
Pohjola, Pekka
4.29 | 76 ratings
DARK SHOT
One Shot
4.39 | 47 ratings
QUALIA
Syrinx
4.20 | 181 ratings
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON
Davis, Miles
4.49 | 32 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.20 | 152 ratings
J'UN OEIL
Sloche
4.16 | 269 ratings
HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY
Return To Forever
4.19 | 146 ratings
MYSTICAL ADVENTURES
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.22 | 101 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: MILES SMILES
Davis, Miles
4.32 | 52 ratings
LEB I SOL 2
Leb I Sol
4.16 | 192 ratings
WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE
Return To Forever
4.31 | 50 ratings
AGITOR LUCENS V
Arco Iris
4.23 | 83 ratings
DEDALUS
Dedalus
4.17 | 159 ratings
WHAT IF
Dixie Dregs
4.37 | 39 ratings
SUDAMÉRICA O EL REGRESO A LA AURORA
Arco Iris
4.15 | 184 ratings
FAIRYPORT
Wigwam
4.32 | 48 ratings
EWAZ VADER
One Shot
4.16 | 165 ratings
THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.20 | 103 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: OFFRAMP
Metheny , Pat
4.14 | 227 ratings
AJA
Steely Dan
4.13 | 317 ratings
SANTANA
Santana
4.25 | 64 ratings
ORGANIK
Niacin
4.50 | 25 ratings
THE HOOK
Tolonen, Jukka
4.73 | 16 ratings
Вижу Землю / LOOKING AT THE EARTH
Gunesh Ensemble
4.27 | 54 ratings
DEDICATED TO YOU, BUT YOU WEREN'T LISTENING
Tippett Group, Keith
4.17 | 111 ratings
SECRET STORY
Metheny , Pat
4.22 | 70 ratings
ALMA DE DIAMANTE
Spinetta Jade
4.21 | 77 ratings
INDÍGENA
Mar de Robles
4.14 | 163 ratings
QUANTUM
Planet X
4.20 | 74 ratings
SENTIMENTS
Iceberg
4.23 | 59 ratings
FERMÁTA
Fermáta
4.10 | 294 ratings
UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR
Brand X
4.13 | 149 ratings
CHICAGO (AKA CHICAGO II)
Chicago
4.38 | 31 ratings
SPEAK NO EVIL
Shorter, Wayne
4.17 | 93 ratings
PAT METHENY & LYLE MAYS: AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS
Metheny , Pat
4.10 | 264 ratings
ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill
4.15 | 100 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: NEFERTITI
Davis, Miles
4.28 | 44 ratings
CRNA DAMA
Smak
4.19 | 71 ratings
4TH
D.F.A.
4.12 | 147 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.86 | 12 ratings
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic
4.22 | 56 ratings
RAHMANN
Rahmann
4.23 | 53 ratings
BELIEVE IT
Williams Lifetime, Tony
4.09 | 212 ratings
BLOW BY BLOW
Beck, Jeff
4.18 | 72 ratings
PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA
Pohjola, Pekka
4.32 | 35 ratings
UOMA
Uzva
4.25 | 44 ratings
RUCNI RAD
Leb I Sol
4.21 | 55 ratings
OH YEAH!
Hammer, Jan
4.16 | 76 ratings
LAMBERTLAND
Tasavallan Presidentti
4.24 | 45 ratings
YELLOW FIELDS
Weber, Eberhard
4.10 | 139 ratings
MASQUES
Brand X
4.12 | 107 ratings
EROTIC CAKES
Govan, Guthrie
4.22 | 48 ratings
LOS ELEMENTALES
Arco Iris
4.40 | 25 ratings
DIUMENGE
Companyia Elèctrica Dharma
4.11 | 117 ratings
METAL FATIGUE
Holdsworth, Allan
4.07 | 222 ratings
MOROCCAN ROLL
Brand X
4.17 | 62 ratings
STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS
Secret Oyster
4.18 | 58 ratings
VOLUME 1: CONTRE COURANT
Opus-5
4.67 | 14 ratings
AD PERPETUUM
Fafard, Antoine
4.11 | 102 ratings
HUASCARAN
Fermáta
4.50 | 19 ratings
SOLUS OPERANDI
Fafard, Antoine
4.47 | 20 ratings
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Weber, Eberhard
4.40 | 23 ratings
SLAV TO THE RHYTHM
Farmers Market
4.10 | 112 ratings
NI VENT... NI NOUVELLE
Maneige
4.11 | 93 ratings
CINQUE
Deus Ex Machina
4.51 | 18 ratings
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
4.08 | 146 ratings
SEXTANT
Hancock, Herbie
4.45 | 20 ratings
RITES
Garbarek, Jan
4.18 | 52 ratings
DUTY FREE AREA
D.F.A.
4.43 | 21 ratings
MUNDO FLOTANTE
Ontalva, Ángel

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

EL INFIERNO DE LOS PAYSOS
Fulano
RHESUS O
Rhesus O
STRANGE MEETING
Power Tools
SUDDEN DUSK
However

Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Images by MANEIGE album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.27 | 20 ratings

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Images
Maneige Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by PlacesofLight405

2 stars Three years following the release of "Montreal6AM" somebody in the Maneige camp thought it was a good idea for a once groundbreaking band to realease their swan song, "Images". This 33 minute excursion in soulless drivel does not do justice to the great music the band laid down from '74 to '80, from avant-jazz symphonic to priggish jazz rock. No, this one ended up sounding like the soundtrack to a bad movie. The second side has a bit of life to it and they freely lift riffs from Led Zeppelin, ZZ top, and Tom Petty. The only way I'd recommend this is if you like " library music" like the Guitar of John Renbourn or Soft Machine's Rubber Riff. I like both of those, and this still sounds bad to me.
 Mind Transplant by MOUZON, ALPHONSE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.06 | 15 ratings

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Mind Transplant
Alphonse Mouzon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars So many great jazz-rock drummers out there in Progland, luminaries like Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Peter Erskine, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, Vinnie Colaiuta and Michael Walden, all made quite a name for themselves in a wide variety of sessions. There are some equally brilliant ones who are, sadly not quite as famous, such as Rayford Griffin (Ponty), Leon Chancler (Santana) and Chester Thompson (Ponty, Genesis). Which brings us to Alphonse Mouzon, a hyperactive drummer who should easily qualify to thump with the legends. His sensational technical display and furious passion are fully developed on this magical recording, a delightful coalition of instrumentalists helping him achieve the perfect groove. He would eventually carve out quite a reputation with Larry Coryell's 11th House, Roberta Flack and Al Di Meola. Guitarists Tommy Bolin, Jay Graydon and Lee Ritenour are into the mood, keyboardist Jerry Peters adding his jazz vibe and bassist Henry Davis keeping things nicely fastened and bolted. I found myself focused on Mouzon's incredible technique throughout the set list, after all, it's his solo outing and he is certainly not timid nor shy.

The eight tracks presented here are relatively short, precise and often hyperactive slices of jazz-funk-rock that explodes with resounding effect. From the opening title track, the intense suggestion is both swift and dynamic, showing off Mouzon's blistering technique and leading the crew into electric rocking horizons. Tingling and vocoder effects on the guitars from Bolin makes the grade while Henry Davis does great things to his bass guitar on 'Snow Bound', a singular display of choppy control, organized chaos and creativity. On the aptly named 'Carbon Dioxide', the mood varies between harsher expanses and softer climes, a definite showcase for Tommy Bolin to rip it up, muscled by a divine bass run and Mouzon's supersonic drumming, easily recalling Cobham's burly delivery. Peters flourishes on organ, adding more punch to the fury. A track that could have gone on for another ten minutes, at the rate they were going (cough, cough)!

Drum solo intro time on 'Ascorbic Acid' and what a powerhouse this one is, the relentlessly impatient burp of the bass egging the players closer to a razor edge, dignified by a pair of tortuous guitar solos that has speed, hysteria, sizzle and substance. Both Graydon and Ritenour duel mercilessly, each a thorough 'in the zone' blast. The much- maligned Ritenour also shines on the next two tunes, the lovely 'Happiness is Loving You', for this is a respected axe man who could have made a greater name for himself then just a gifted session man. Big surprise on the choppy funk tune of 'Some of the Things People Do'. Similar to Dr. John's 'In the Right Place', this is more of a vocal driven funk number that has a nice Southern feel with Ritenour's slinky rhythm work and slippery leads pushing the surprisingly adept Mouzon vocals into the spotlight.

Highlight track unquestionably, 'Golden Rainbows' is quite the rhythmic oasis, giving a bubbly groove that is unshakeable and resolute, thus providing the platform for some serious soloing, a slower-paced steam roller that forges forward bold and confident, with perfectly positioned keys, bass and that powerful drum beat. Bolin takes it over with perhaps some of his best work, in a gritty, talkative style that emotes very obviously and hints at some Hendrixian notions of sustained bluesy notes, lush with sweat and brawn. World class track, period, worth the price of admission. Counter that with the masterful 'Nitroglycerin' , a perfect description for the detonation on display here, a blistering musical racer that careens down the sonic highway with a no-holds-barred, 'pedal to the metal' mad dash to some imaginary checkered flag. Bolin and Mouzon are simply terrifying at surpassing the level of notes and beats thrashing about, seemingly effortlessly. Short, sweet and sick.

Definitely a must for fans of the artists presented above, guitar god aficionados as well as drumming students looking for heroes. This album sits nicely among my many jazz-rock gems.

4 Awareness uproots

 Bonfire Goes Bananas by BONFIRE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.36 | 20 ratings

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Bonfire Goes Bananas
Bonfire Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars BONFIRE were a Dutch band who released this sole album back in 1975. Many compare them to FINCH and FOCUS with their all instrumental high energy sound. It clocks in at around 40 minutes and besides the usual instruments we get some flute, grand piano and vibes. The keyboardist had a hand in all of the compositions. While I mention the energy they do contrast passages a lot.

"Delirium" opens with experimental sounds which is my favourite part of the album. It kicks into gear well before a minute then picks up speed from there as the drums and guitar stand out. Contrasts do continue though in this energetic opening number. "Contrast" is laid back with guitar and a relaxed beat but it kicks into an uptempo groove and these contrasts will continue. The synths sound pretty cool along with the guitar work at times, I'm not into this at the other times though. Now the flute really adds to the sound here after 3 minutes along with the vocal melodies late. Very much hit and miss for me. "Vuurstaal(Part II)" opens with piano as the guitar, bass and drums join in, flute a minute in. The guitar is emotional starting before 2 minutes then the flute returns.

"Chinese In Europe(Part I)" is annoying to start with those people talking as a lame piano melody takes over. The guitar is better but that piano melody keeps coming back(gasp). Female vocal melodies before 1 1/2 minutes and I like them a lot. Lots of intricate sounds a minute later. "Circle" is somewhat dark with sparse piano and some atmosphere. It kicks in around a minute with busy drum work and prominent guitar and piano. The intensity rises a little before 4 minutes.

"The Sage Of The Running Nose" is the almost 19 minute closer. Marching styled drums to start with guitar and bass. It then settles back with piano, vibes and flute 3 minutes in. I like the calm before 5 minutes as the brightness disappears briefly. Then we get a piano/ drum lead section which will be contrasted with the more energetic passages. I'm not big on the section starting around 13 minutes but then it settles back with guitar out front which I appreciate. Lots of piano led melodies follow right to the end.

I have a hard time with some lighter, high energy bands, it's just not my scene including FINCH but if your into this style you need to give this one a shot.

 Scarabus by GILLAN BAND, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.88 | 31 ratings

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Scarabus
Ian Gillan Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The third, and last, Ian Gillan band album comes with some changes. According to guitarist Ray Fenwick Gillan was interested in getting back to a more "basic" sound, trying to skip the more jazzy and experimental elements. In other words, to give what the Deep Purple fans were expecting from him since the beginning: hard rock, shorter songs and a more melodic approach. And Scarabus is quite a big step towards that. Of course the Jazz-rock/fusion is still very well present, but the tunes are indeed much shorter, so the room for experimentation is also cut short. In the end the result is an interesting hard rock/fusion/funk hybrid. Quite good, I must say, but it would be better if the Ian Gillan band had given a little more space for soloing in a couple of tunes at least.

Listening to the album today it is clear that this kind of arrangement would not work for the period: with the rising of The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the success of other Deep Purple off-shots who jumped into the bandwagon like Rainbow and Whitesnake, Gillan was playing something that the new audience would not relate to. Either he would assume the cult following direction of previous Clear Air Turbulence showed or he should get another band together and play the kind fo music he was famous for. He obviously chose the latter and The Ian Gillan Band was no more.

Scarabus is an interesting album, quite transitional, with several good songs and, although ramped by the shorter running time of the songs, impeccable performances by all involved, specially the brilliant keyboardist Colin Towns. More rocking than their previous efforts, this CD has many memorable moments that should not be overlooked. It was a nice surprise, although one can only imagine how far they would have gone had they followed the paths Clear Air Turbulence opened.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

 Universi Paralleli by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.56 | 15 ratings

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Universi Paralleli
Arti e Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Universi Paralleli is the last, long awaited, studio album by Arti e Mestieri, a band from Turin that have been active, one way or another, for more than forty years. It was released in 2015 on the Cramps - Sony label with a renewed line up featuring, along with founder members Gigi Venegoni (acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards) and Furio Chirico (drums, percussion), also Iano Nicolò (vocals), Piero Mortara (accordion, piano, keyboards), Lautaro Acosta (violin, electric violin), Roberto Puggioni (bass, fretless bass) and Marco Roagna (acoustic and electric guitars) plus some prestigious guests such as Arturo Vitale (sax), Mel Collins (sax, flute) and Lino Vairetti (vocals). The creative vein of the band has not run out along the years and the songwriting is still brilliant, blending jazz rock, melody and Mediterranean colours with excellent results. On the album cover there's the picture of a sculpture by Lugi Farina that in some way recalls their debut album Tilt - Immagini per un orecchio, but with a touch of modernity that could give you an idea of the musical content. According to the liner notes, the music and lyrics of this work deal with the subject of parallel universes, emotional contrasts that are mirrored, for instance, in double lives or double personalities...

The opener "Alter Ego" is a great instrumental track where acoustic and electric instruments draw new images for you ears with soaring melodic lines defying the gravity force flying high over jazzy patterns... I think that it's a very introduction for a wonderful album!

"Dune" is a beautiful instrumental with Oriental flavours that leads to "Pacha Mama" where we can hear for the first time on this work Iano Nicolò's vocals. The lyrics deal with environmental issues. In fact, the title refers to the goddess of fertility revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Mother Earth here is depicted as a dying entity, poisoned by the greediness of humankind. Men driven by gold are sucking the divine maternal sap like vampires while deserts of sand are rapidly replacing lakes and rivers...

A strong, melancholic wind of nostalgia blows through the notes of the following "L'ultimo imperatore" (The last emperor). The title seems to refer to the film of the same name directed in 1987 by Bernardo Bertolucci about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The lyrics do not try to tell a story but draw evocative images about parallel universes and fading memories where distorted and manipulated revolutions are celebrated by godless priests in doomy cathedrals that can't hide the pervasive sense of loss and emptiness of a faithless ritual performed by rote...

"Finisterre" and "Johann" are two charming instrumental pieces drenched in a kind of dreamy romanticism that lead to the heartfelt "Restare immobile" (Remaining motionless) where the music and lyrics depict the eternal contrast between reality and dreams. You can pin down a fragment of reality on a blank page and anaesthetize your memories. Poetry and dreams can set you free and when your mind begins to fly you're able to take off on a journey across far, extraordinary worlds, even without moving your body!

The melancholic instrumental "Borea" (Boreas) is full of delicate autumnal colours and soaring folksy melodies with accordion and violin in the forefront. The music draws evocative northern landscapes while the title refers to the god of the north wind, one of the four seasonal Anemoi in ancient Greek mythology... It leads to the joyful "Pandora" where the music and lyrics conjure up strange images and cheerful dances. Here the wind takes you onwards and you set off on a magical journey to discover new moons and better days...

The following "Linea d'ombra" (Shadow line) is darker and tense. It's another beautiful instrumental that leads to the pyrotechnic drum solo "Comunicazione primordiale" (Primordial communication), full of savage energy and exotic flavours. Next comes the instrumental "La luce in fondo al tunnel" (The light at the end of the tunnel) that is more relaxed and shines for his perfect mix of jazz and classical influences.

The last track "Nato" (Born) is credited as a "bonus track" and features the special guest Lino Vairetti from Osanna on vocals. It's a wonderful piece that deals with a strong sense of nostalgia for a lost emotion that was born from a thought or maybe from a kiss, or a lie, a tune, a sound, a poem, a sin, a shout or just from a moment of madness that now your are trying to find again between a smile and a tear, between the clouds and the stars, in an image or in a deep, cold abyss inside you soul or... wherever you want! It's just a magic moment that fled away and you're still desperately running after it...

On the whole, I think that this is wonderful album and a real must for every Italianprog lover!

 Sunbirds by SUNBIRDS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 25 ratings

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Sunbirds
Sunbirds Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DePloy

4 stars A song and a half in I'm sure this is a lost Herbie Mann album, and pow! In comes distorted electric piano with Philip Catherine's guitar mid second song.

Sunbirds is a very pleasant album that features bright, ornate rhythms that are given the happy treatment with loads of flute and a heavy dose of electric piano. This is one of the great early progfusion albums, and it finds a way to delicately balance the jazz and rock aspects effectively. Highlights include the extended "Spanish Sun" and the sublime "Sunshine". Unfortunately, " Blues for DS" sounds too much like a seventies soundtrack to an American TV sitcom for this album to be a masterpiece. This sterile piece brings the second side down a notch. Still a classic album for me that exemplifies the potential of the burgeoning worldwide jazzrock style.

 Serious Young Insects (as On The Virg) by DONATI, VIRGIL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.65 | 6 ratings

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Serious Young Insects (as On The Virg)
Virgil Donati Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars Absolutelly phenomenal album!Super jazz metal fusion made by true pros plus killer drumwork on this album,absolutelly mindblowing!Donati is a master of polyrhythms,his versatility is unbelieveble and this modern type of fusion can please even the most pretentious fusion lover!The sound is killer too,wonderful indeed!The diversity of the compositions is well balanced,each musician is an ace in hos work,but overall is this "not of this earth" drumming from Virgil Donati,absolutelly fantastic!Sometimes we have the impressions that the unbelieveble technical skills provided by Donati ,are here only to prove his fantastic talent and this music is made only for musicians!That's not true,but to fully understand this album,there are many auditions necessary!For me ,this is an essential album,a masterpiece in jazz metal fusion and deserves 5 stars!
 Fire Merchants by FIRE MERCHANTS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.32 | 7 ratings

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Fire Merchants
Fire Merchants Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What a great name for a band! And these guys do bring the heat(haha). This is a power trio with John Goodsall(BRAND X) on guitar and synth-guitar, Chester Thompson(Frank Zappa, WEATHER REPORT & GENESIS) on drums and Doug Lunn on bass. Franz Pusch produced and engineered this album and he also adds synths and samples. The music is quite heavy and noisy with a Jazz flavour at times and it's all instrumental. It was also released in 1989 a bleak time for our type of music.

"Saladin" is a great opener as they don't pull any punches here to start but then it settles into a powerful groove with the guitar soloing over top. It's fairly repetitive but I really like this opening number. "Hamsterdam" is another funny song title. This one is fairly heavy as well and I like when the guitar comes in at 30 seconds with some interesting expressions that will come and go. A good track. "Conflagration" is one I'm not that into mainly due to that swinging jazz melody that will come and go. I do appreciate the contrasting section that starts before 1 1/2 minutes with the guitar solo that lasts for some time. A nice bass solo follows after 2 1/2 minutes then that swinging melody returns. "Tunnel Vision" is a jazzy tune that does little for me especially the guitar led melody that comes and goes. Some killer bass though at times. An interesting section beginning before 1 1/2 minutes where all three guys impress me big time. So good! And it lasts until after 3 minutes when that guitar melody returns that I'm not fond of.

"Last Rhino" is the first and last(not counting the bonus track) song that is quite mellow. It does turn fuller before 1 1/2 minutes but contrasts will continue. "Divisions" reminds me of an earlier track. I do like the guitar before 2 minutes as it's strummed a couple of times then back to just soloing away as the drums and bass support. Contrasts continue. "Ignition" is the first song to feature some atmosphere then the guitar kicks in sounding different tone-wise. A heavy bass/ drum groove starts before a minute then the guitar solos. Catchy stuff. "Cancel The Album" is more like it as we get some challenging music that borders on experimental but the song is only a minute long sadly. "Nevele" starts out powerfully and we get synths here as well. The guitar joins in quickly but then it settles as we get some excellent sounding bass before 2 1/2 minutes then back to the guitar led melody. "Z 104" features some in your face bass early on as the drums pound. Catchy stuff with some killer guitar over top.

I do like this album but some of the jazzier sections do little for me. I feel like I should like this more but it's just not connecting with me for some reason.

 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.76 | 41 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I found this as a 1976 two-for-one that includes their first two albums, released on EMI, in a Eugene, Oregon record store around 2012, knowing that I've been aware of Solution for ages, and that Focus recorded one of their songs as part of "Eruption". I was rather amused of the "EMI" label, the "E" red, "M" was white", and "I" was blue, referring to the colors of the Dutch flag, to let everyone know the Dutch origins of Solution. To me, the debut is by far the best thing they have ever done. Later stuff started venturing too often in lite jazz. When hearing this debut, I hear elements of Supersister, and while Alquin had yet to release an album, I can see exactly where those guys were coming from. Of course, Solution lacked the humor element of Supersister, for some that's what they like of Supersister, other that's what puts them off about them. "Koan" is an incredible piece, love those sax parts and use of electric piano that isn't too different from Supersister. "Phases" has some really great stuff on is, but the part that bothers me is the vocal parts. I really get an impression the band is torn between jazz rock, prog, and American west coast rock, and this song proves it. So long as there's no vocals, I could do without them. It's not that they're bad, but the US West Coast style doesn't suit the band . "Circus Circumstances", OK, is where the band was trying to pull a Supersister on us by trying to be humorous, but that circus music that starts the piece is pretty lame, luckily they get serious and drop that, and go back to what they do best, more of that stuff that reminds me of Supersister and Alquin at their best. The album does have a couple of questionable moments, most of it is simply great stuff that I can highly recommend.
 Eela Craig by EELA CRAIG album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.79 | 51 ratings

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Eela Craig
Eela Craig Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Igor91

4 stars Eela Craig's self-titled debut is probably the one album that most Eela Craig fans don't have. Why? First, few original vinyl copies were pressed (1500, I believe). Second, no other version was available until Garden of Delights reissued it on CD in 1997. Thirdly, the album sounds nothing like the music the band would later produce and become known for, namely, symphonic prog. Eela Craig circa 1971 was more of a heavy prog band with psychedelic leanings. The opening song, "New Born Child," starts off kind of like a gloomy Krautrock excursion, before settling into more of a heavy prog track with interesting horn sections. The song ends with the most awful editing job I have ever heard on an official release. That is the low point of the album, with the rest of the original album tracks flowing very nicely. The recording and production is sub-par, but that may be due to the fact that the original master tapes were lost, and the CD version used a previously unplayed vinyl copy as a master. The LP has a bit of a "hippie-dippy" feel to it, but is countered by some dark vibes here and there. Overall, a very enjoyable album worth a listen for those who enjoy early 70's heavy prog from Europe.

The CD version has 4 bonus tracks, which represent the band transitioning from what you hear on the debut to the more symphonic sound that they would become famous for. The first two bonus tracks, "Irminsul" and "Yggdrasil," are instrumental and feature a revamped lineup. They are OK, but nothing special or worth listening to very often. The last two bonus tracks, "Stories" and "Cheese," again with a different lineup, show their new, symphonic direction, and are quite dreadful in this reviewer's opinion. I never cared much for their later albums, but these tracks are of an even lesser quality .

To wrap things up, I would say Eela Craig's 1971 debut album is an enjoyable slab of early 70's heavy prog. While not entirely original, it is nonetheless, above average compared to many of its peers. Just hit the "stop" button after you finish track 4 ("Indra Elegy") and you'll be pleasantly surprised. 4 stars.

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4 FRONT United States
7 FOR 4 Germany
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ABUS DANGEREUX France
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AUM Brazil
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AXIS Greece
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B F Estonia
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HEAD United Kingdom
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